Different Processor Types in Single Board Computers

August 18, 2014 | BY: Gregory Sikkens

Curtiss-Wright uses three primary processor types in single board computers (SBCs) - ARM, Intel and Power Architecture.

Each processor family has attributes that appeal to particular defense and aerospace customers, based on their preferences and the requirements of their embedded computing applications. Following is a summary of the three processor types used in Curtiss-Wright SBCs:

ARM is an up-and-coming processor family in defense and aerospace. Many defense and aerospace customers and developers are moving to ARM, particularly those that use enterprise versions of operating systems on Curtiss-Wright SBCs. It enables operating systems such as Red Hat Linux, Fedora Linux and Windows to run almost out of the box.

ARM processors, based on a reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architecture, offer robust digital signal processing capability while being power efficient. ARM supports vector processing, though not as efficiently as an Intel® Core™ i7 processor.

Of the three processor types in SBCs, ARM offers the largest ecosystem, because of its popularity in low-power consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets. ARM offers developers freedom of choice with Freescale, for communications processing, and AMD for graphics capabilities.

Intel, known for its leadership in personal computing, offers processing solutions for many defense and aerospace applications. This includes single processing in embedded vector processors. Intel's newest 4th Generation Core™ processors serve as graphics engines, delivering a high degree of graphics and digital signal processing functionality.

They are designed for high-performance, low-power systems in defense as well as medical, transportation and industrial automation markets. They deliver heightened performance in processing speeds, graphics quality, media performance and security. Designed on a smaller footprint, the 4th generation processors are often used in constrained environments, including unmanned vehicles.

Freescale Power Architecture
Power Architecture is a registered trademark for RISC architecture-based microprocessors that are developed and manufactured by Freescale. Power Architecture is often the choice for determinate processing in applications where throttling is detrimental. In contrast, throttling can be a problem for Intel processors if they get hot.

Many users who adopt Power Architecture stay with it because it supports legacy upgrades. And Power Architecture is commonly the processor of choice for most applications that require certification.

For information about processor types in SBCs for your applications, contact Curtiss-Wright today.


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Author’s Biography

Gregory Sikkens

Senior Product Manager, Graphics, Safety Certifiable & ARM Single Board Computers

During his 28 years at Curtiss-Wright, Gregory's current role as Senior Product Manager includes the product lines of: Graphics, ARM Single Board Computers and Safety Certifiable COTS boards. Previously, Gregory also held roles as product development manager, software team lead, and test/ILS engineering. Gregory has a Microcomputer Engineering Technologist degree from St. Lawrence College.

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